First, using the soundcard/mixer approach
Here is an example of the audio interface approach. The interface in the pic is a Presonus Firepod Firewire Interface. This is similar to many 8x8 interfaces. Here's the Presonus FireStudio Project
pic courtesy of Nmodi at the Mondo Arts Music Factory
Using a mixer based approach similar to the one in the pic, I would suggest:
Entry level PC Mixer-Based System
- Sonar Home Studio or Cubase Studio
- MAudio Audiophile 2496
- Roland Juno Di
- Behringer XENYX 1204 Mixer
- Sonar Home Studio (PC) or Cubase Essential (lots of choice here)
- Shure SM57 Microphone
- KRK RP5G2 Active monitor
- Just add a desktop computer
Because we have a hardware synth with sounds in the mix here, you don't have to have a super fast computer. It does need to have a PCI slot open for the 2496 card. Advantages are 24 bit audio recording, the ability to add more hardware to the rig thanks to the mixer, good starter software that you can upgrade later if you really get serious, and the excellent sounding KRK RP5 active monitors that will connect nicely to the mixer's control room outs..
Using the mixerless firewire approach I suggest the following for Newbies to the craft:. The system is simple, but good sounding.
- Presonus Firestudio Mobile
- KRK RP5G2 Active monitors
- Studio Projects B1 Microphone
- M-Audio Axiom 25 Keyboard Controller
- Sonar Home Studio (PC) or Cubase Essential or On the Mac use GarageBand or Logic Express
- AKG K55 Headphones
- Add your computer and your talent and make a masterpiece.
This inexpensive rig is capable of 24 bit audio (better than CD quality), and can run the latest software synths and samplers, record your guitars, voice, and whatever else you can capture with the great sounding B1 condenser microphone.
For software, Sonar Studio or Logic Express (or GarageBand) will let you use audio loops or craft your own patterns with MIDI, make Hip hop beats AND let you add you vocals on top, or you can craft pop, alt rock, orchestral, piano concertos or any ensemble you can imagine.
The Mackie MR5, in the lineage of the famous HR824s will not flatter your mix like cheap multimedia speakers, they will make you work to sound good. That is what you want!
The Axiom has real pitch and mod wheels, drum pads, a touch strip, transport control and knobs.
In sum a lot of high end features at a low price.